In two or three days after this, he sent for me. He said the Ruby would leave King-road the next day, and that he was ready to do as he had promised. Depositions were accordingly made out from his own words. I went with him to the residence of George Daubeny, esquire, who was then chief magistrate of the city, and they were sworn to in his presence, and witnessed as the law requires.
On taking my leave of him, I asked him how he could go a third time in such a barbarous employ. He said he had been distressed. In his voyage in the Alexander he had made nothing; for he had been so ill-used, that he had solicited his discharge in Grenada, where, being paid in currency, he had but little to receive. When he arrived in Bristol from that island, he was quite pennyless; and finding the Little Pearl going out, he was glad to get on board her as her surgeon, which he then did entirely for the sake of bread. He said, moreover, that she was but a small vessel, and that his savings had been but small in her. This occasioned him to apply for the Ruby, his present ship; but if he survived this voyage he would never go another. I then put the same question to him as to Gardiner, and he promised to keep a journal of facts, and to give his evidence, if called upon, on his return.
The reader will see, from this account, the difficulty I had in procuring evidence from this port. The owners of vessels employed in the trade there, forbade all intercourse with me. The old captains, who had made their fortunes in it, would not see me. The young, who were making them, could not be supposed to espouse my cause, to the detriment of their own interest. Of those whose necessities made them go into it for a livelihood, I could not get one to come forward, without doing so much for him as would have amounted to bribery. Thus, when I got one of these into my possession, I was obliged to let him go again. I was, however, greatly consoled by the consideration, that I had procured two sentinels to be stationed in the enemy’s camp, who keeping a journal of different facts, would bring me some important intelligence at a future period.
Author goes to Monmouth—confers relative to a petition from that place—returns to Bristol—is introduced to Alexander Falconbridge—takes one of the mates of the Africa out of that ship—visits disabled seamen from the ship Thomas—puts a chief mate into prison for the murder of William Lines—Ill-usage of seamen in various other slave-vessels—secures Crutwell’s Bath paper in favour of the abolition—lays the foundation of a commitee at Bristol—and of a petition from thence also—takes his leave of that city.